Am I Short-Changing My Children?


Wondering if you would be willing to comment on how to spend enough time with younger children while schooling older kids?

I am a scheduler and use a modified version of MOTH. That helps. But this year I am dealing with one in middle school (he is self-motivated but his school day is pretty full), one in 5th who should be fairly independent by now but isn’t (dyslexic), a 3rd grader who is somewhat delayed but quickly catching up (still requires a lot of one-on-one though), and a very motivated K’er who would school all day long if I had the time to give her. Plus a high-strung three-year-old (we’re working on it), and a laid-back one-year-old who I am afraid gets a little too lost in the mix.

My bottom line problem is that no matter what schedule I work out, I feel someone is getting short-changed. Sometimes I focus more on my little ones, doing the fun things with them that I used to do with my older kids when they were little — reading lots of stories and swinging and going on walks. But then my older kids don’t seem to get the one-on-one that they really need, especially my dyslexic child. On the other hand, if I focus on the older kids, then I begin to feel that I am doing nothing but moving the younger kids from one pre-planned activity to the next without any good, nurturing momma time.

I would love some advice on how to balance all this. I feel like I have two separate groups of kids who need two different kinds of mommies/teachers. I know God called me to this, and is sovereign and not surprised or befuddled about what to do. That is comforting, but I feel so bad that I can’t seem to be what my kids need from day to day.

Any thoughts? Sorry this is so long.


Hi Jenn-

The truth is, you really do have two sets with two different needs, and even within those sets there is such a variety of needs that it feels impossible to keep every plate spinning, doesn't it?

I feel the same way you do, but I do remind myself (and try to press in closely to hear the Holy Spirit on this subject) that in God's perfect Sovereignty and plan, those needs are being met because He is meeting them and I will never be able to anyway.

I know adults who were without siblings who feel that their parents couldn't be all things to them. And the truth is, we can't.  I used to think I could meet all the needs and wants, but not only can I not, I don't believe it would serve my children well if I did.

Sometimes I'll hear an older child say something to the affect that if there were no little ones, they could do more things.  They have friends without young siblings who seem to have more opportunities than they do.  But I remind them that the little ones don't get to do all the things I used to do with the older ones when they were little- we can't go to Story Time at the library regularly or Mc Donald's play place for lunch anymore.

I also point out that a lot of the joy in our family comes from the hilarity the little ones provide and that they will miss it terribly when they move on in their own lives.  The little guys are dually blessed by the older kids- piggyback rides, special playtimes, lots of attention, and someone to get them what they need when Mom isn't available.

Some days I feel I haven't spent a ton of time with the little guys, but then I scoop them up and sit them on the counter while I'm making dinner, have a little conversation about their world, and suddenly they know how much their Mama adores them.